my-cart-icon svg-arrow-next svg-arrow-prev

How to put on a dog harness?

12/27/21 1:12 PM

Are you trying out a dog harness for the first time and wondering how to put on a dog harness? Even though it can seem challenging at first, with all the loops and straps, it’s actually easy! Here’s why you might want to use a dog harness in the first place, and how to put a dog harness on your dog.


Benefits of a dog harness

When used correctly, dog harnesses offer many benefits and there are several reasons you may opt for a dog harness over a collar, including anatomical and behavioral reasons.

Since harnesses are designed to keep pressure off of the dog’s delicate throat and trachea area, they’re a good choice for short-nosed breeds like pugs and boxers, breeds prone to tracheal collapse like Pomeranians and Chihuahuas, and dogs with neck injuries or respiratory diseases. They’re also a good choice and an alternative to Martingale collars for dogs with slim heads like greyhounds and whippets, who can slip out standard collars.

Harnesses are also popular for dogs that pull on the leash. Again, unlike a dog collar, a dog harness keeps pressure off the neck and throat area so when they do strain it doesn’t cause damage, and many dog owners report feeling like they have more control over their dog when using a harness.

Dog harnesses are commonly used with dogs with disabilities, too, to help with maneuvering and control.

Finally, some harnesses are designed specifically for travel, as a way to safely secure your dog to the seatbelt system.

What are the types of dog harnesses?

There are two basic types of dog harnesses: step-in dog harnesses and roman dog harnesses, or standard dog harnesses.

Step-in dog harnesses are designed as two loops that go on the front legs up to the chest and clip together in the back. Roman dog harnesses have an “H” shaped design and go on head-first, which is why they’re also sometimes called overhead harnesses.

How should you put on a dog harness?

Before immediately putting the harness on your dog, give them an opportunity to get acquainted with it first. Let your dog sniff it and examine it. For some dogs, that might be all it takes to get them comfortable with it. If your dog seems hesitant, you can make the harness more attractive (and less scary) by tossing some treats near and on it. You can also let your dog wear it inside the house for a while to get used to it before using it on a walk.

Depending on your dog, this step can be important because if they fear or dislike the harness, it could be a struggle for you to get it on them.

How to put on a step-in dog harness

How does a dog harness go on? It depends on the type of harness you have.

As the name implies, a step-in dog harness is one your dog can literally step into. Make sure it’s unbuckled and place it open on the floor. Put your dog’s front left foot in one of the open loops and then their front right foot in the other. Pull the harness up on your dog’s legs and snap the buckle in place on your dog’s back.

How to put on a roman dog harness?

Start by unbuckling the roman dog harness if it’s not already unbuckled. Then slip the harness over your dog’s head, making sure the D-ring that attaches to the leash is positioned on your dog’s back. At this point, you should have one large loop (square) of harness and the other side should be open and unbuckled. Put your dog’s leg through that large loop. Then pass the other strap under their chest and behind their leg, and up to meet the other side to clasp together.

Where should you place the dog harness straps?

In addition to making sure the straps are the right tightness, make sure they’re positioned correctly. You don’t want the dog harness straps to fit across the throat. You should also keep it from putting pressure on the shoulder joint since this can interfere with their walking.

How should you adjust a dog harness?

Most harnesses are designed with buckles that allow you to tighten or loosen the straps to get the desired length.

Make sure the harness fit on your dog is snug but not too tight; you should be able to slip two fingers under the straps at any point.

Choosing a dog harness

Which type of dog harness is better, a step-in or standard (roman) harness? Both work well and while a step-in harness is simpler to put on, it doesn’t take long to master the roman harness. Just be sure that whenever you go outside your dog has ID tags, either on a collar or attached to the harness itself. 

Check out our line of roman dog harnesses and standard step-in dog harnesses at Hot Dog Collars. Choose from 1000's of styles and pair with your favorite collar and leash for personalized pet style to keep your pup safe and looking great!